Here's How Often You Should Bring Your Child in for an Eye Exam

Feb 20, 2023
Here's How Often You Should Bring Your Child in for an Eye Exam
Your child is on schedule with vaccines, weigh-ins, and wellness visits, but when do they need their first eye exam — and how often after that? Find the answers to your questions about your child’s eye health here.

Parents tend to get on their pediatrician’s schedule within the first days or weeks of their baby’s life, which makes sense because several vaccines are administered immediately. But eye care often falls off — or never gets on — the radar.

At Vision Corner in Houston, Texas, Dr. Sophia Barnes and our team meet lots of parents who never knew their baby could benefit from an eye exam, but it’s never too late to get started. 

Whether you’re a new parent researching recommended eye exam schedules for your baby or you have an older child with a vision problem, we can help. Dr. Barnes offers pediatric eye exams and a personal demeanor that will ensure your child has a positive experience. 

Here’s the ideal pediatric eye exam schedule.

When to schedule your child’s eye exams

If your child isn’t experiencing any vision problems, we want to keep it that way. Pediatric eye exams aren’t only for kids who can’t see well; they’re for kids with excellent vision who want to ensure that their eyes stay healthy. Even babies should get their eyes checked. Here’s the schedule Dr. Barnes recommends.

First eye exam at 6 months old

When you bring your 6-month-old baby in for an eye exam, Dr. Barnes spends some time getting to know you and your child. She asks questions about your child’s birth and whether there were any pregnancy or delivery complications. She also asks about your family’s health history to determine if any ocular diseases run in the family. 

The goal of the first appointment is to check your baby’s eye development and establish a baseline that Dr. Barnes can use as a comparison in later appointments. 

During this appointment, she checks your baby’s ability to track movement and maintain eye contact and looks for any signs of discharge that may indicate allergies or infection. She also looks for indications that your baby looks in one direction preferentially. 

Mostly, it’s a get-to-know-you appointment. Be sure to let Dr. Barnes know if you have any concerns or questions.

Second eye exam at age 3

By the time your child is 3, they’re involved in all sorts of activities like coloring, playing, drawing, and stacking things. It’s an exciting time of development and a good time to bring them back for another eye exam. 

At this appointment, Dr. Barnes checks for:

  • Visual acuity
  • Eye health
  • Color vision
  • Tracking
  • Convergence
  • Three-dimensional vision

These are critical aspects of your child’s eye health as they move toward school age and begin to hone their fine motor skills. These tests help Dr. Barnes determine if your child has:

  • Lazy eye (amblyopia)
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus)
  • Difficulty focusing on objects near or far
  • Poor depth perception

If she finds any of these conditions, Dr. Barnes can treat the issue early and slow or stop its progression. Some vision problems aren’t obvious, but they affect your child’s ability to develop and learn, so if you notice any delays or abnormal behavior, tell Dr. Barnes. 

Third exam at age 6

This exam will look a lot like the exam they had at age 3, but this time we check for specific visual skills that come into play when your child reads, writes, and plays sports or musical instruments. 

In addition to focusing, tracking, and visual acuity, which tests your child’s near, far, and intermediate vision, Dr. Barnes also tests for:

  • Eye teaming: how their eyes work together
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Visual perception: how they recognize, comprehend, and retain written information

As long as your child has no vision concerns, you can schedule annual check-ups with Dr. Barnes.

Is your child due for an eye exam? Book an appointment online or by phone, and start your child on a lifelong journey toward good eye health at Vision Corner.